Special to the Advocate
In response to the worship service on Friday night, June 12, 2009 during the Mississippi Annual Conference which included a witness by a lesbian couple, the General Conference delegates and alternates, were convened by Bishop Clay Lee at the invitation of Bishop Hope Morgan Ward.
As a result, we the undersigned, affirm the following:
1. After conversation, we agree that Bishop Hope Morgan Ward was not involved in planning of this worship service. There was no conspiracy to change or attempt to change The United Methodist Church’s position or influence the vote on the Constitutional Amendments.
2. The worship service was planned by a worship committee of the Annual Conference as is our tradition. The planning was done by a task group assigned to this service based on the theme of Open Doors. The witness was given as one of three vignettes of those who found a home in The United Methodist Church.
3. The placement of these witnesses was not appropriate in the worship service.
4. We uphold and believe the statement contained in the Book of Discipline, Paragraph 161.f:
The United Methodist Church does not condone the practice of homosexuality and considers this practice incompatible with Christian teaching. We affirm that God’s grace is available to all. We will seek to live together in Christian community, welcoming, forgiving and loving one another, as Christ has loved and accepted us. We implore families and churches not to reject or condemn lesbian and gay members and friends. We commit ourselves to be in ministry for and with all persons.
5. We affirm Bishop Hope Morgan Ward and call upon all clergy and laity to support The United Methodist Church and the ministry and mission of the Mississippi Annual Conference by upholding the church with our prayers, our presence, our gifts, our service and our witness.
6. We greatly regret the personal attacks upon Bishop Hope Morgan Ward and any harm to anyone as a result of this experience.
7. It is our deep prayer and desire that the Mississippi Annual Conference will move forward with Jesus Christ as the center of all that we are and all that we do. We call upon all to commit July 29 as a day of prayer, fasting and repentance.